The battle to succeed Melissa “Missy” Miller in the Assembly kicks off what appears to be a much busier-than-usual off-year election year — when there is no presidential race — with fellow Cedarhurst residents Ari Brown and David Lobl facing off in a special election.
Early voting runs through April 5, with the election itself two days later. Miller, a Republican, was appointed to the Town of Hempstead. She replaced fellow Atlantic Beach resident Bruce Blakeman, now Nassau County executive.
Brown, 54 — a longtime village trustee currently serving as deputy mayor — looks to keep the seat Republican. He served on Cedarhurst’s zoning board between 1998 and 2001, a position aligning with his construction background. He joined the village board immediately after, becoming deputy mayor in 2019. That same year he was appointed chair of the Architectural Review Board.
“I am eager to put my experience to work in the New York State Assembly,” Brown previously told the Herald. “Most of all, I am committed to be a sound and sensible voice in the face of the extreme politics that have taken hold in Albany.”
Brown, whose name also appears on the Conservative Party line, says he plans to take a firm stand against attempts to defund the police as well as bail reform.
Lobl, 37, is a government and political consultant who has worked for former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Previously a resident of Far Rockaway, Lobl — a Democrat — moved to Cedarhurst in 2020. He runs the Cedarhurst-based firm Asher Strategies LLC.
Lobl was also the public and government affairs director for the Friedlander Group more than a decade ago, according to a social media profile, a company specializing in workers’ compensation. Lobl had a similar role with Human Car Services for Families and Children.
He was a special assistant to Cuomo for six years beginning in 2012, before moving back into the private sector as a vice president with Kasirer LLC, an influential lobbying group, where he remained until last year.
“I think essentially the only way to make a difference in our community is to be a Democrat in the Assembly,” he previously told the Herald. “Being a member of the majority, you can accomplish your goals.”
Lobl would work with “anyone and anybody,” he said, setting his sights on amending the bail reform law, supporting tougher penalties for hate crimes, delivering as much Covid-19 relief for businesses in the district, and fighting for equal funding for private schools.
Both Brown and Lobl have had their issues, however. Brown, for example, was one of the six Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency board members who resigned in 2016 over an approved PILOT — payment in lieu of taxes — agreement for a Valley Stream business that reportedly raised taxes for residents. Brown pointed to a 2019 state comptroller’s report vindicating the IDA, and pointed the finger instead at the school district.
Lobl was identified as the person who approved what was considered an incendiary flyer that suggested Cuomo’s 2018 Democratic primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, was antisemitic and supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which implored colleges and governments to stop doing business with Israel.